REVIEWED: SEASON 1 (ALL EPISODES) | STARRING: KATE SIEGEL, HENRY THOMAS, MCKENNA GRACE, LULU WILSON, VICTORIA PEDRETTI, MICHIEL HUISMAN | WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX, DVD, BLU-RAY
Based on Shirley Jackson's book of the same name, modern Horror aueter Mike Flanagan (Hush, Oculus, Doctor Sleep) undertook the monumental task of adapting this legendary tale and creating a ten hour-long episode series that equally balanced creating tension, dread, emotion and character development - and he absolutely nailed it.
The series follows the Crain family; Father Hugh, Mother Olivia and their five children Steve, Shirley, Theodora, Luke and Nellie - a family of house flippers who end up in possession of Hill House, a house that is soon discovered to be Haunted. The story across the ten episodes cuts between the siblings as kids and as adults who, after experiencing a variety of tragic and terrifying events are very damaged, each in their own individual ways, over 25 years after the occurrences happened.
From the very first scene, the series is oozing with atmosphere. Flanagan's keen eye and attention to detail means that his locations feel as much of a character humans - and that's not even because each episode has a plethora of hidden ghosts to find!
The story, which alternates between the past and present, is edited in such a way that it keeps the audience guessing with all of its reveals and twists and allows the Crain children to develop and emotional tether to the viewer.
With the show taking place over 10 hour long episodes, thus enables each of the seven main characters to get a chance to shine. A few of the episodes focus on a particular character entirely or a pair of characters shaky relationship, from an episode about Nell's experience with "The Bent-Neck Lady" or adult Luke's incredibly difficult battle with drug addiction. Episode 6 in particular was a highlight as it features all of the adult family together for the first time since they were kids and the entire episode is made up of a selection of extended one take shots - a technical masterclass in its own right.
Another achievement of Flanagan's vision is that the series never really feels overbearing or long - each episode is crafted to keep the audience engaged and on their toes with existential dream looming around every corner. The ending itself is not your conevventiontal horror ending either with it feeling rather poetic with its conflict resolve.The Haunting of Hill House is easily up there as one of the best Netflix Originals and an essential viewing for Horror fans.
The Haunting of Hill House comes as a three disc set each with 3 or 4 episodes on each disc. Each disc also contains the following extended directors cut episodes:
- Disc 1 - Extended version of Episode 1 with Commentary from Director Mike Flanagan (6 minutes of extra footage)
- Disc 2 - Extended version of Episode 5 with Commentary from Director Mike Flanagan (3 minutes of extra footage)
- Disc 2 - Episode 6 with Commentary from Director Mike Flanagan
- Disc 3 - Extended version of Episode 10 with Commentary from Director Mike Flanagan (5 minutes of extra footage)